DTEK, Ukraine’s largest private energy investor, has cut the ribbon on a new wind farm, less than 100 miles from the Russian front.
The Tyligulska project is the world’s only wind farm being built in a major conflict zone, and is a key step in the nation’s ambition to “build back greener” from the invasion.
Phase one of the wind farm, which lies 60 miles from the frontline in the Southern region of Mykolaiv, and just 25 miles from Russian-occupied territory.
Comprised of 19 turbines, and with an installed capacity of 114 megawatts (MW), Tyligulska is able to generate up to 390,000 kWh, enough to power 200,000 households a year.
DTEK took the decision to build the wind farm in 2022 as part of a wider strategy to expand its renewables portfolio.
Once subsequent phases come online, Tyligulska will boost the group’s green energy capacity from 1 GW to 1.5GW.
DTEK has invested $200 million in the construction of this first part of the wind farm, among the first to use Vestas’ 6 MW Enventus turbines.
In phase two of the project there are plans to add up to 64 turbines to raise the potential output of the development to 500 MW.
That will make Tyligulska the largest onshore wind farm in Eastern Europe, providing secure energy for homes and businesses in the south of Ukraine.
DTEK chief executive Maxim Timchenko said: “The Tyligulska wind farm is a symbol of Ukraine’s resistance to Russian attempts to freeze Ukraine into submission. With projects like Tyligulska, we can build Ukraine back greener and cleaner and become a key partner in Europe’s energy future. And by developing an infrastructure based on distributed rather centralised generation, we are creating an energy supply that is more resilient and stable.
“DTEK is getting ready for the construction of stage II. The company will continue to contribute to the implementation of Ukraine’s strategy to build 30 GW of RES capacity by 2030. The Tyligulska wind farm is our practical step towards developing clean energy in Ukraine and intensifying energy security in Europe. By having completed Phase I, we are sending a signal to our international partners that they can invest in Ukraine today without waiting for the war to end.”
DTEK plans to expand Tyligulska as part of the company’s broader strategy to achieve net zero emissions by 2040 and help Ukraine become a clean energy exporter to the European Union.
Those plans remain dependent on the group securing an additional $450m in funding, both from foreign investors and crucially from state-backed international financial institutions.
Ground was broken on Tyligulska in late 2021 and the first wind turbine was erected in December 2021.
However, DTEK halted construction after Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, with six turbines installed, when enemy forces advanced on Mykovaiv, and foreign partners were forced to evacuate staff and equipment.
By summer 2022, and with financial support from DTEK shareholder Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest man, work resumed with an all-Ukrainian crew of 650 people at its peak.
Staff worked in bullet proof vests and spent over 300 hours in bomb shelters from August 2022 until April this year, under the constant threat of missile strikes.
In one and a half years, the team installed 114 MW of generating capacity at twice the usual speed for a project on this scale.
Mr Akhmetov, investor at SCM, said: “11 years ago, we started building green energy in Ukraine. We started to change the energy system of the country. Since then, despite all the obstacles, we never changed course, having invested more than 1 billion euros in solar and wind farms. In 2022, we had big plans to build a new Tyligulska wind power plant. However, the Russian invasion temporarily halted the project. Today I want to say: we made a decision to resume the construction of the wind power plant and the first stage of the station started working at full capacity. The war will not stop us. We continue to create jobs, pay taxes, generate electricity, restore grids, fight for our energy independence and invest in the future. We will win the war”.